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Judge dismisses DNC lawsuit against Trump campaign, WikiLeaks and Russia

Julian Assange
Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police car on April 11, 2019 in London. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge John Koeltl has dismissed the Democratic National Committee's lawsuit against the Russian government, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.

The big picture: Tuesday's dismissal means the DNC can't bring another action on this same claim. Koeltl writes that "the primary wrongdoer in this alleged criminal enterprise is undoubtably the Russian Federation," which "cannot be sued in the courts of the United States for governmental actions ... just as the United States government generally cannot be sued in courts abroad for its actions."

  • The judge also notes that the "second-level participants" in the alleged activity — which include the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, Roger Stone and others — cannot be held liable for disseminating hacked emails because they are shielded by the same First Amendment protections that apply to the media.
  • Koeltl also rejected the Trump campaign's attempt to sanction the DNC and did not consider special counsel Robert Mueller's report in his ruling, per Courthouse News.

Read the filing:

Go deeper: DNC sues Trump, WikiLeaks and Russia over 2016 election

Editor's note: This story has been updated to show that Koeltl rejected the Trump campaign's attempt to sanction the DNC and did not refer to the Mueller report in his ruling.